Resources on Gays and the Church

One of the most divisive issues among believers today is the very important, but emotional, debate on whether gays should be rejected in the church or accepted as equals. Condemnation of gays causes tremendous pain to people both inside and outside the church.

Following Jesus without Baggage

Books and Film

  • Justin Lee, Torn (click to see the book on Amazon)

Justin Lee was a normal Southern Baptist boy who was very dedicated to Jesus and the church. When his friends began to notice girls, Justin began to notice guys. He had heard there was sometimes a period of sexual confusion during puberty, so he waited for his attraction to guys to pass.

To his alarm, the feelings did not go away even though he dated girls and had a steady girlfriend. (Click here to read the rest of my review).

If you don’t trust ‘progressive Christians’ or ‘liberals’ with the Bible, then let me tell you something about Matthew Vines. He isn’t even close! He makes it clear from the outset that he has a ‘High View’ of scripture, and he demonstrates that throughout his book.

If you are a conservative evangelical or a fundamentalist with a high view of the Bible, and you want to understand better what the Bible says about same-sex attraction, then this is the book for you! (Click here to read the rest of my review).

A True Story.

Mary Griffith, a very religious, ‘Bible-believing’ mother (played by Sigourney Weaver) discovers that her 16-year-old son, Bobby, thinks he might be gay. Immediately, she begins to do everything she can to change him back to his former purity.

Finally, she rejects him and he leaves; and before long he commits suicide. This becomes a turning point for his mother who re-evaluates her understanding of what the Bible says about gays, and she becomes an advocate for gay and lesbian youth. (Click here to read the rest of my review).

Websites

Videos

Through My Eyes From Gay Christian Network (48 minutes). Very Good and well organized. Gay Christian Youth talk about their struggles, attempts to change, suicidal impulses, rejection by family and church, and alienation between gays and the church.

Why I Changed My Mind On Homosexuality by Danny Cortez (61 minutes). A Southern Baptist Pastor humbly shares his changing views on homosexuality with his congregation knowing that he might be fired. [Update: the church did not fire him, but the Southern Baptist Convention ejected the church from the Association.]

The NALT (Not All Like That) Christian Project. Short individual videos from quite a number of Christians demonstrating that they are not like that–not condemning of LGBTs.

Traditional Christian Parents Reveal Changed Views on LGBT (4 minutes)

Articles

From Jesus without Baggage

From Kimberly Knight

From Susan Cottrell

From Other Writers

Other Lists of Resources:

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54 Responses to Resources on Gays and the Church

  1. Pingback: 4 Huge Ways Believing the Bible Inerrant is Tremendously Harmful | Jesus Without Baggage

  2. IntellectualWithHeart says:

    Another resource you may be interested in is a Lifetime movie called “Prayers for Bobby.” I mean it is Lifetime, so make the assumptions as you will, but the movie really changed my view on Christianity and homosexuality and I think you may enjoy it as well.

    Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Thanks, I will look into it.

      Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Hello Heart,

      I looked into the movie and it looks very good, so I ordered it today. After I watch it, if it is good as it looks, I will definitely add it to the list. Thanks!

      Like

  3. Pingback: Announcing Jesus Without Baggage Resource Pages | Jesus Without Baggage

  4. mike says:

    YOU LET A LIFETIME MOVIE CHANGE YOUR VIEWS ABOUT CHRISTIANITY. AM I THE ONLY ONE THAT GETS THE CHILLS HEARING THIS?!…..I have always struggled with the “strong delusion” but now I understand. You can give a number of excuses and “reasons” but the bible is all we have to go on. If you cannot trust the bible you are just another speck on earth with an opinion….very scary….please read His word

    Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Mike, you say the Bible is all we have to go on. I think the Bible is very important too, but if we actually understand what it says we discover that the case for it being anti-gay is extremely weak. In the Jesus without Baggage links above, I address every one of the clobber passages people use against gays–and they are misapplied.

      Take a look if you wish.

      Like

      • rosie says:

        I wouldn’t say this is extremely weak, i would say the bible is extremely strong stating that homosexuality is a sin.”You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.”

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: How I Changed from Disapproving LGBTs to Being Totally Affirming | Jesus Without Baggage

  6. stasisonline says:

    Tim, have you not noticed that the first page of the first link from Susan Cottrell, contains a thoroughly unbiblical statement? IE the line –

    “To stand at the church door and block anyone from entering, for any reason, is absolutely indefensible.”

    That totally contradicts 1 Corinthians 5. And shockingly it’s followed by the statement –

    “Too much ‘Christian’ teaching has really gone off-track”

    Youre Jesus without Baggage, seems to equate to Jesus without Jesus. Your sources dont seem to know what Christianity is about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Stasis, in many of today’s churches people are quick to dismiss and abandon people for a number of bad reasons. I think Susan is responding to this. There might be an occasion to work with people who finally need to be removed from leadership, but I agree with Susan that the church should welcome pretty much anyone to the church.

      Like

  7. stasisonline says:

    Tim the second post you city from the Freed Hearts blog, advises the mum to avoid theological debate, and to instead stand on her own experience. This is rather contradictory to Scripture. Im thinking particularly of Proverbs 3:5-6.

    Like

  8. jesuswithoutbaggage says:

    Stasis, I think perhaps we understand Proverbs 3:5-6 differently. Some people use this passage to warn people to not question or doubt what they have been taught by their leaders. But ‘do not question’ is equal to ‘do not think’. I have written about this misuse of the passage here:

    https://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/2017/08/14/lean-not-on-your-own-understanding-the-fear-of-thinking-in-fundamentalism/

    Like

    • stasisonline says:

      A notion of “do not think”, and advice to not follow your human leaders, is not what Proverbs 3:5-6 is about, and it’s not what my response is about. The verse is about trusting in what God has said. Freed Hears is contradicting that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Stasis, I agree with you: “A notion of “do not think”…is not what Proverbs 3:5-6 is about”. However, it IS how many believers use this passage to discourage each other from thinking instead of just accepting what they have been taught.

        We do need to trust what God has said, but we must also determine what God has said and not just trust someone else’s opinion on it.

        Like

        • stasisonline says:

          Ok. So are you disagreeing with the Freed Hearts perspective?

          Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Stasis, I do not disagree with her perspective. I think what she is saying is that it is useless to engage with believers who continue to insist that the Bible condemns being gay. This is not a fruitful debate because it has been done to exhaustion; the arguments based on appealing to the ‘clobber passage’ are always essentially the same. So we know what these objectors are going to say.

            The problem is that these ‘debaters’ are using a misguided view of inerrancy in their understanding of these passages. I would say that the only passage that might be open to reasonable debate is Romans 1.

            So I agree with Susan: “Don’t be drawn in to a theological debate with someone who believes there is no possible way they could be wrong.” It is not that she is disregarding the value of debate; I am quite sure she has been through it many times before, and she does not have to respond to every challenger. Sharing experience, however, often produces new insights to anti-gay challengers.

            Like

          • stasisonline says:

            Tim youre veering off from what Susan wrote, again. She didnt say that the debate has been done to exhaustion, and that she knows what the objectors are going to say. More so the reverse.She’s referring to someone who has very little experience debating the topic, and probably doesnt know what the objectors are going to say.

            What Im saying is that Scripture says to trust in God with all of your heart, and dont lean on your own understanding. She though, seems to be recommending ignoring what God says and to instead trust in your own understanding.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Stasis, first of all I select articles based on their overall usefulness; I do not agree with the authors in every detail.

            Secondly, you state: “What Im saying is that Scripture says to trust in God with all of your heart, and dont lean on your own understanding. She though, seems to be recommending ignoring what God says and to instead trust in your own understanding.”

            The ‘Scripture’ doesn’t say anything; the author of each book or passage is who said it. And I think what you mean by ‘ignoring what God says’ really means ignoring what you think the author of a particular passage, or passages, says. There is a huge difference.

            I think gay Christians trust God more than the typical believer.

            Like

  9. stasisonline says:

    Tim, in the 3rd post from Susan Cottrell, it states “Jesus never shamed anyone”. It’s a mystery to me how she could claim this, if she’s read the Gospels. Matthew chapter 23 states for example; “Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: … “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! … “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?”

    I get the impression that she either has never read the Bible thoroughly, or it’s been many decades since she’s looked at a Bible or attended church, and she only has a vague recollection of what Jesus stands for.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Stasis, Jesus did frequently call out certain privileged Pharisees for the way they treated the common people. I don’t think this is the same as shaming gays or other people.

      Like

      • stasisonline says:

        Ahhh so youre saying that by definition, it’s not possible to shame someone who is in a position of privilege? I hadnt considered that. But now that I think about it, I dont think privilege makes a person impervious to being shamed. And actually, Jesus was revered in some circumstances (Luke 5:26, Luke 7:16, Matthew 7:28-29) so in relation to Jesus, Im not sure they were in a position of privilege?

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Stasis, I am not saying “that by definition, it’s not possible to shame someone who is in a position of privilege.”

          Like

          • stasisonline says:

            Ok. Do you accept that Susan is mistaken about this? She wrote that “Jesus never shamed anyone”. Im saying that Jesus did shame Pharisees. You worded at as “calling out” but irrespective, he shamed them, didnt he?

            Like

  10. stasisonline says:

    Tim, the 4th post from Susan Cottrell, is about the sad story of Ryan Robertson. It’s hard to know what is conjecture and what isnt with this story. Would Ryan have done hard core drugs if his parents supported homosexuality? It’s hard to know. Statistics show that GLBT people do more drugs than most people (https://www.out.com/entertainment/popnography/2012/03/14/roughly-25-lgbt-population-abuses-substances) so maybe he would have anyway. The story of Danny Pintauro, suggests that even gay men who are successful, are known to abuse drugs (http://people.com/tv/oprah-winfrey-talks-to-danny-pintauro-about-crystal-meth-problem/). And Ryan was far from unusual in turning his back on God at that age. Many teens of college age, do.

    One element of the story that did catch my attention, was that his death came at a point after his parents had said that homosexual relationships were okay for him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Stasis, young gays also have very high rates of suicide. Why is this? The high rates of suicide and drugs are from having their sexuality rejected and condemned by their families.

      You state: “Ryan was far from unusual in turning his back on God at that age. Many teens of college age, do.” But Ryan, like many young gays, wanted to be at peace with God; but his parents gave him an ultimatum: “And since you know what the Bible says, and since you want to follow God, embracing your sexuality is NOT an option. Basically, we told our son that he had to choose between Jesus and his sexuality.”

      By the time his mother assured him they accepted his sexuality it was too late; the damage was already done.

      Like

      • stasisonline says:

        Well youre largely repeating the angel his mother takes, which I suggest involves conjecture. Im asking whether her angle is actually valid. IE she feels to blame for his sinking into trouble, but are she and her husband really to blame?

        You suggest that the high rates of suicide by young gay people are due to them having their sexuality rejected by their families. I acknowledge that this may be a factor. But I also wonder whether it’s an overly simplistic explanation. We know that other people also face high levels of discrimination, eg enslaved people of decades and centuries ago, but they didnt all suicide or turn to hard drugs. And we know that their are gay people who are embraced, and others who come from positions of privilege, such as Danny Pintauro, above, who still sink into hard drugs. Homosexuality is often tied to a “party lifestyle”, which often includes drugs. Not all gay suffering is a result of discrimination.

        If Ryan Robertson’s parents were impossible, he could have walked away from them, as some children do, and go on to live a healthy life. I think he shares responsibility for the path he took.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. stasisonline says:

    Tim, the 5th post from Susan Cottrell seems to have some fundamental flaws in it, in regards to understanding what Jesus is all about.

    She writes that you are as God made you. And she seems to say that God is only angry or disappointed with oppressive leaders. This implies that unless you are an oppressive leader, God is indifferent, or not in any way, non-approving of you, irrespective of what you do.

    This is totally contradictory to my understanding of the New Testament message. First we had John the Baptist crying “repent, repent”. Susan though, seems to say that’s not necessary. Jesus then came, and said “leave behind your sin and follow me”. But again, Susan seems to imply that’s not necessary. She seems to say you can just be yourself, and follow yourself. She just seems to have so little grasp of Scripture.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Stasis, you said: “First we had John the Baptist crying “repent, repent”. Susan though, seems to say that’s not necessary. Jesus then came, and said “leave behind your sin and follow me”. But again, Susan seems to imply that’s not necessary.”

      So, Stasis, what does it mean to repent? It means to change your mind and go another direction. Repentance is NOT saying some ‘sinner’s prayer’ but changing our mind, choosing the kingdom of God, and following Jesus.

      In Luke 3, when John the Baptist called on people to repent (change their minds and direction) John’s answers to the crowd are interesting: “What should we do then?” the crowd asked.”

      “John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?” “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them. Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”

      It appears that those wishing to enter the kingdom of God were to treat other people right. And this is what ‘sin’ is, not disregarding legalistic rules but harming and hurting other people. This is consistent with Jesus’ observation about the Law–that the essence of the Law is to love God and to love all others as one’s self.

      In my opinion, being gay and following one’s sexual orientation is not sin. ‘Sin’ is more like rejecting and condemning gays. Now that hurts!

      Like

      • stasisonline says:

        Yes I see some truth what you note about John the Baptist’s message. So do you agree that Susan seems to neglect the importance of the need for Christians to repent?

        Like

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Stasis, what do you understand ‘repent’ to mean?

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          • stasisonline says:

            To turn from sin. To make a sincere decision to avoid sinning, and to instead follow Jesus’ ways. Do we agree about that?

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Stasis, it depends. What do you think sin is?

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          • stasisonline says:

            I understand sin to be something that God tells us not to do. Examples include stealing, drunkenness, murdering, laziness, telling lies, worshiping other gods. Do we agree on that?

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Stasis, thanks for clarifying your understanding of sin. My answer is that I DO NOT agree with that. What you describe is legalism–following a list of rules. Jesus did not promote legalism but a proper understanding and use of love.

            I would say that ‘sin’ is more about principles than rules; it is about treating people with empathy, compassion, and reconciliation in the light of God’s great love rather than inflicting pain, condemnation, and alienation.

            This is a significant point of disagreement between us.

            Like

  12. Tom says:

    It is not a question of affirming or rejecting homosexuals, but rather a question of love. I would submit it is entirely unloving to affirm a persons sin, encourage them in it, and thus take them further from the Lord and help condemn them to eternal Hell.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Tom, I don’t think God will condemn anyone to punishment in eternal hell. But you say it is unloving to affirm a person’s sin or encourage them in it. It seems that you are implying that being gay is sin. Do I understand correctly?

      Like

      • Tom says:

        Yes, you are. It is a perversion of God’s intended purpose for sex and relationship.

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Tom, thanks for the clarification.

          Like

          • stasisonline says:

            Personally, I vary slightly with Tom on this. Although that might just come down to definition of words and understanding of sexuality. In contemporary English, to “be gay” tends to mean to experience same-sex attraction. But some older people understand the term a little differently, as meaning to engage in homosexual activity. But under the contemporary definition, I dont think it’s a sin. We all experience temptation. I think it’s wrong to refer to temptation as sin. I think sin is a willful act. So engaging in sexual activity can be a sin, but I dont think experiencing temptation for sexual activity, is a sin.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Stasis, you have a good point between temptation and engagement. But let me clarify that I do not think embracing and engaging in one’s gayness is a sin.

            Like

  13. Tom says:

    You’re welcome. I will say, this seems to be the spirit of the age, rather than from God.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Tom, you state: “It is a perversion of God’s intended purpose for sex and relationship.” But I think this very position seems to be the spirit of a previous age, rather than from God.

      Like

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